Can Ollie Watkins Cement His Place as an England Regular?

2 minute read

The 2023-24 season has more than just its usual stakes. This term, players will be pushing themselves harder than ever to ensure that they are included in their respective countries’ squads for Euro 2024. Exeter City graduate Ollie Watkins will be hoping that he can find his best form and cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s side before the competition rolls around.

Aston Villa Tipped for Big Season

Aston Villa have been backed by experts to have a big season after their fantastic seventh-place finish last time out. Unai Emery is hoping to improve on that and has strengthened his side in the transfer market. The Premier League winner odds have them at 50/1 to lift the trophy, with Manchester City current favourites at 8/11. However, Ollie Watkins & Co do have a shot at a top-four finish and can be backed at 9/2 to achieve it.

People who want to place a football bet can do so easily by selecting from the different markets online. Staking on Villa toppling the league’s big guns may be a stretch too far for some bettors. However, there’s an argument that wagering on Watkins in the top scorer betting could be fruitful. He’s a dark horse at 33/1 to win the Golden Boot, but he has improved his goal tally the last two seasons and could do so again.

In the 2022-23 campaign, the Torquay-born forward notched 15 goals and eight assists. He has an excellent injury record and was a staple under Emery. Indeed, he played a whopping 3,129 minutes of football last term, which placed him in the top six of all forwards in the division. With this much pitch time and a few new attacking additions behind him, Watkins can shine this season and make it impossible for Southgate to ignore him.

Watkins Versatile Enough to Play Alongside Kane

The problem for Watkins and all other English strikers in the current climate is that nobody can take Harry Kane’s spot in the England lineup. Therefore, if picked, the Aston Villa man will most likely serve as backup to the Three Lions captain. Watkins needs to hit such form that he can beat the likes of Ivan Toney, Callum Wilson, and Tammy Abraham when it comes to being the next in line.

One thing that Watkins does have in his favour is that he’s a more versatile forward than the other potential Kane replacements. He’s arguably the best candidate to play alongside the 30-year-old in attack if Southgate decides to mix things up and change his tactics. In the past, Watkins has played across all positions in a front three. This highlights how he can be more than just a centre-forward for England if that’s what’s required of him.

Watkins has the chance to take his game to the next level this season under Emery at Villa. He could easily breach 20 goals thanks to the additional service he will be getting from the new summer signings. If this happens, he’ll be a shoo-in for Southgate’s Euro 2024 squad.

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